Just weeks after AT&T’s plans to begin selling Chinese-made Huawei phones in the United States were jettisoned, it appears that Verizon has followed suit. Bloomberg reports that Verizon changed course due to pressure from the US government, closing off another potential channel for a new established Android brand in the West.
It is still possible to procure a Huawei smartphone in the US, which can then be paired with either carrier’s network, but as Bloomberg notes, direct sales would have introduced millions of new customers to the brand. Huawei is one of the best-selling brands in the world, and yet it still hasn’t made a sizable impact in this region.
In addition to blocking the popular and feature-rich Huawei Mate 10 Pro from being sold directly by the country’s two most popular carriers, the government is also slowing down progress on establishing the next generation of mobile networks. Huawei wants to be one of the first manufacturers to offer 5G phones, but the US government’s concern about Chinese spying means those phones will be unavailable at US carriers when they begin rolling out.
“Your phone is the ultimate Trojan horse,” said Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner. “If someone has control of your phone, they can do a lot with it. In a nightmare scenario, they can turn on the microphone or the camera and, — if you working for a defense contractor or chipmaker — they can obtain sensitive info.”
The current administration believes that allowing companies with ties to the Chinese government to begin selling equipment or helping establish a 5G network in the US would be a security risk. Not only is that making it impossible for Huawei to establish a foothold in the US, but it has also reportedly led the Trump administration to believe that nationalizing the construction of a 5G network would be a secure and worthwhile alternative.